Chakyar is one among the many upper cast
Hindus, dependant on the temple, living by the sacrament food and
meagre salary from the temple, adept in telling stories from the
legends in a humorous and enchanting manner.
The term Koothu literally means dance which
may be taken as an index of the importance attached to dance in
the original form of the art.
In Chakkiarkoothu, the story is recited
in a quasi-dramatic style with emphasis on eloquent declarations
with appropriately suggestive facial expressions and hand gestures.
It is one of the oldest of theatrical arts
peculiar to Kerala. As a matter of fact, the movements and facial
expressions and the signs and gestures employed by the actor in
Koothu are said to approximate most closely to the principles laid
down in the authoritative Sanskrit treatise on the subject, Bharatha's
Attired in a gilt bordered cloth, wearing a red cap and ornaments
on the neck, ear and hands, he recites the scriptural poem and annotations
with witty and humorous examples and anecdotes with the accompaniment
of the cymbals and another cast Hindu Nambiar drumming the Mizhavu,
made of copper with a narrow mouth on which is stretched a piece
of parchment (a percussion instrument made of covering an narrow
mouthed big earthen jar with deer skin).
He is licensed to tease and cut jokes on
anyone among the audience, even the mighty ruler, during the discourse
exploiting the legendary situations as all those are permitted as
the prerogatives of the Chakyar. One should know Malayalam to enjoy
the congenital jokes.